From Military Officer to Entrepreneur: How GetGo Founder Toh Ting Feng Adopted a Structured Approach to Entrepreneurship

Whether you’ve seen their cars on the road or tried one yourself, chances are you’ve seen one of GetGo’s car-sharing fleets on the roads of Singapore.

Launched in February 2021 during the pandemic, GetGo has become Singapore’s largest A-to-A point car-sharing service in Singapore. From an original team of 10 to the current workforce of 130, growing and scaling a business is no easy task, but one that co-founder Ting Feng has taken on. hand.

Entering military service despite having a family history of entrepreneurs

Growing up, Ting Feng was surrounded by cars and entrepreneurs. His father was a first generation entrepreneur – a high school dropout who started his own used car trading business.

“Growing up, I never had any aspiration to be in the used car business, but I always knew that at some point I wanted to be an entrepreneur.”

It may come as a surprise to learn that Ting Feng chose to join the military profession after Junior College, instead of going down the entrepreneurial path. He accepted an SAF scholarship and was sponsored for study in the United States for four years and then served seven years in the military and MINDEF.

“I thought it was meaningful and exciting, and deep down I knew that if I wanted to build a big, meaningful business, I had to be a leader who understood both strategy and operations.”

From a giant organization to large organizations: moving from the public service to the private sector

After 7 years of service, it is not easy to give up a stable and promising career. According to Ting Feng, “It’s very tempting to keep staying…but coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I knew that eventually I wanted to do my own thing.”

After making the difficult decision to leave SAF. he could either help develop the family business or start his own. Instead, Ting Feng chose to go into the private sector.

“I knew I wasn’t ready to jump into entrepreneurship right away. I have just spent seven years in the public service. I didn’t have to be responsible for a P&L. I wanted to have more visibility. So I decided to take a more structured approach to entrepreneurship.

During his stint in the private sector (CapitaLand and Grab), Ting Feng moved from “national defense to real estate development at the cutting edge of mobility technology”. These experiences helped him build a business directory.

These are the people you meet along the journey

While most people think of entrepreneurship as something you jump right into, there are benefits to taking a more roundabout route. During his multiple career changes, Ting Feng has acquired many experiences that help him meet the challenges of starting a business. More importantly, it connected him and allowed him to build relationships with many of his core team members.

“Entrepreneurship is never about one person or even just the founders. It’s about the collective team that you bring together. Some of the relationships I’ve built have also paid off in terms of team building .

For example, its co-founder and chief marketing officer, Johnson Lim, and chief technology officer, Malik Badaruddin, were people Ting Feng had connected with while managing his family’s investments after his stint in business. GetGo’s product manager, Lionel Fong, was his college classmate who decided to move back to Singapore. By taking the longest route to start his business, Ting Feng was able to build an A-team to solve a problem together. And that problem and that opportunity presented itself during the pandemic.

Timing is important when it comes to starting a business

“Not everyone is lucky enough to find a meaningful problem that they are better placed to solve”

While COVID-19 was a tough time for everyone, Ting Feng and his team found themselves in a position where things came together to start GetGo. With the right experience, the right skills and the right people, the right time has come during the pandemic.

“Timing is so important if you’re trying to start this business. Maybe five years ago we would have been in trouble. If it hadn’t been for COVID as a catalyst, the technology won’t have been advanced. There’s a technical saying: sometimes if you’re ahead, you’re wrong. So we also did that at the right time.”

Seizing the opportunity, Ting Feng and his co-founder launched GetGo in February 2021.

Read also : From a $70,000 debt to founding Singapore’s #1 online home improvement media portal, the story of James Soh, founder of Renopedia

Scale from GetGo

While most entrepreneurs struggle to scale their business, Ting Feng’s experience through his SAF leadership days and work in the private sector has allowed him to set the company up for success when it’s about developing the team and operations in a structured way. From the original 8-person team to a 130-person company, GetGo has grown rapidly since its launch.

Even from the beginning, Ting Feng and the GetGo team dreamed big.

“You want to solve a problem in a meaningful way. That means you have to solve it on a large scale, so you want to start with the end in mind, or at least some milestones in mind. Then you have to plan and work towards it. How am I going to engage and organize myself and the team to solve this bigger and bigger problem? »

Since their first press release at launch, when they set their goal of 1,000 cars by the end of 2021, Ting Feng and the GetGo team have been steadily moving towards bigger milestones.

This includes realizing their vision of a sustainable mobility ecosystem. By 2030, they aim to add more electric vehicles to their fleet in Singapore while expanding their service overseas.

As we parted ways, what struck me about Ting Feng’s entrepreneurial journey was how his structured approach to entrepreneurship led him to his current place as co-founder of GetGo. Instead of diving headfirst into starting a new business when he was young, he developed his knowledge, skills and experiences so that when the right opportunity presented itself, he could build an A-team to attack the problem and develop gradually but decisively.

Read also : Koufu’s Story: Growing from a Café to a Conglomerate of Food Brands

Open a new business account

The business account that gives you more – from starting your business to managing day-to-day tasks and even long-term growth. Open your OCBC Business Growth account now. Insured up to $75,000 by SDIC. The T&Cs apply.

Join the DollarsAndSense business community

For more content that helps entrepreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed people learn how to build better businesses, join the DollarsAndSense Business Community on Facebook.

Comments are closed.